Tuesday, February 26, 2008


This is a picture of me with my housemates during college. I haven't seen them for about 8-9 years. Tomorrow I will get to see them in New Orleans. We are all turning 40 years old this year and this will be our reunion-birthday bash. I have never been to New Orleans before. I'm sure I will have lots of pictures when I get back.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Baby stuff

Yesterday morning, I went to a baby shower for one of the gals at the museum. Above is the cake they had. Very fun and it tasted good, too.

Frank's mom and uncle Bob arrived last night. We received a call from Carol Kaczmarksi (that would be Anna's third cousin) and said Christine (her sister) would be in town today and could we get together. Christine called and came over to our house this morning with her almost 2 year old son. He was very cute and it reminded me of when Anna was that small. It seems a long time ago, even though the time she has been growing up has gone very quickly. Weird how time can be like that. Aidin had a great time with Anna's trains. We took them out to lunch and got caught up.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Shh, it's a Secret

I haven't been up to much lately. But I did want to show you this picture frame I made for my niece, Alexandra (don't tell, family members). The beaded part is what you hang it with. She can change the picture by just removing it from the top. I think it's pretty cute. Now I just have to get the rest of her birthday present together and mailed off.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I want to thank all of you for your supportive comments. It really has made me feel better these past few days. I know my blog has been a bit of a bummer to read lately. But life is sometimes a bit of a bummer. Lyric made a nice suggestion to rest and meditate. I think I would like to do that, maybe after my trip, when I feel like I have things under control. My mind is already racing ahead but I'm trying to ignore that and concentrate on the things that need to be done now.

While I was in the hospital, I tried the expanding square exercise that I had given the kids. Only I didn't have black and white paper and scissors, so I drew it. Here's one of them. I recommend using the paper and scissors. It takes a long time to color in with ball point pen.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Plan B?

So far the year of the rat has seemed a bit ratty to me. Saturday I received my official rejection letter from BSU of my non-acceptance into their Masters of Art program. I knew with my brain that I didn't have a chance when I sent the application off, but the heart always has hope. They said they only had 5 openings this year and I'm sure my work wasn't strong enough (and not in the right categories) to compete.

On to plan B. Well, there is no plan B. I haven't figured that out yet. I know there is the famous saying that when one door closes, another one opens. My question is, how long does it take to find that door?

In light of recent events, I'm pretty discouraged right now. But I have other things to focus on first. One, getting healthy. Two, getting things ready for the yearbook meeting this Thursday. Three, getting the house ready for family visiting this Saturday. Four, getting ready for my trip to New Orleans next week which I'm really not sure I'll be up for, but it is very important to me.
Boy, I better go rest.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Here's a Valentine drawing I did in the hospital. I only had a notebook and pen. Those are suppose to be lungs.

I also wrote a Valentine's poem:

Happy Valentine's Day,
In the hospital I stay
with the pneumonia times two,
Oh! what can I do.

I read it to Anna when she visited me and Frank said I should do a hospital haiku. He was teasing, but why not. The title is I.V.

Long snake seeks my arm
It's sting bites underneath flesh
Life-giving nectar.

O.k. not the greatest but what can I say.

Today is the last day of the Flying M Valentine's auction. I wanted to go see all the art. I got myself together and we went down to look. Here is Anna's necklace. It was hard to take pictures there.
They don't have much wall space to begin with and they really have to cram them in. The papers below the works are the bidding sheets. Frank saw one he liked but the bid was already too high for him.

Friday, February 15, 2008

U Turn

You might have notice my absence here recently. My upswing I last mentioned took a sudden u-turn for the worse. I was feeling better from my cold on Saturday and was able to work on and finish a school project (thank goodness), but Saturday night I felt very tired and wanted to vege out with the t.v. As I was watching a movie, I started getting the chills and shivers. Frank put three blankets on me and I was still shaking. Also, I got all the other flu signs, fever, coughing, etc. I didn't leave the couch all night. Was having such a bad time the word hospital ran through my head but it was the middle of the night and I didn't want to have to wake Anna and have her freak out.

Sunday found me no better. I was still running through the fever cycle, chills, sweats, coughing, aching body, etc. and I knew I was dehydrated. Since I only get seriously ill on Sundays when all the doctors offices are closed. I asked Frank to take me to the hospital. He didn't think I had a very high temperature or that they would do anything for me. It was the flu and yes it hurts. That would be an understatement. Every time I coughed I thought of the story a friend told me where her friend had coughed so hard she cracked a rib. I felt soreness in all my ribs, back and mid section for every cough. It also hurt to take a deep breath and my body and all my joints were sore. I thought I was going to die.

Monday morning was not better and I had coughed all night and Frank asked if I wanted to go to the doctor because now he was thinking it was bronchitis. I said yes. He said did I want to go to the Micron clinic. No, that was way too far away and I didn't even know how I was going to make it to the car. I told him to see if my doctor could see me in the morning. He called and she could see me at noon. That was too late for me. I asked again to go to the hospital and he said let's wait to see the doctor. Not so easy.

Finally, noon came and I managed to get there. The nurse that led me into the little room said I might need to go to the hospital. Of course there is the mandatory 15 minute wait for no reason at the doctor's office. While we were waiting for her, I said let's just go to the hospital and again Frank said let's wait for the doctor. Finally she came and looked me over. She said she could admit me to the hospital if I really wanted (yes, I really did) but she really thought we could manage things with me at home. Two against one, I lose. At that point, I was so bad I just wanted to go home and said fine. They gave me a shot in the bum and four high strength Advil and sent me home with two prescriptions. She told me to come see her the next day.

After the shot and Advil, I was able to calm down a little. Monday night went better and Tuesday morning I didn't feel like I was going to die anymore, only partially so. So I thought o.k. I'm good at home; I don't want to go to the hospital. Went to the doctor and she looked at me and said I need to go to the hospital. Even though the medicine was making me feel a little better I was actually worse. Right over to the hospital we went and straight to a room since she had called and set it up.

They took my blood and x-rays and put me on an I.V. and antibiotics. The doctor came later in the afternoon and said I had double pneumonia. I didn't know that was possible, but if I'm going to have it I must have it in a grand way. So I stayed for four days and was released this morning. It was not how I envisioned I would be spending my Valentine's day.

I missed teaching art to the kids and tried to explain the lesson in a note to the teacher that Anna took to school. She didn't really understand what to do, so they didn't have art. I missed Anna's school Valentine's party. Anna and Frank did bring me chocolate but (mark this on your calendar folks) I didn't feel like eating any chocolate! (Now you know I was really ill.)

I'm home now and it's nice to have my own bed. My doctor says it will take weeks to get up to speed (I won't be able to walk Anna to school for a while) and probably a couple of months before I'm completely back to normal. Bummer. Frank said he forgot to take pictures at the hospital on Valentine's so I could scrapbook it. I hope he was teasing.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Figure/Ground relationships

I had another rough night last night. But I think I am on the upswing from this cold (I hope so!). Here are some pictures of the kids artwork from yesterday which I managed to hang up this morning. We talked about figure/ground (positive/negative space) relationships. They did two exercises working with black and white.

This was one with black and white pattern strips using white strips on black paper and black strips on white paper. Can you tell which is which? It certainly echoes the stair railing. I hope they don't think they are in a prison or in a zoo looking at zebras.

The other exercise was called the expanding square. They started with a white square and cut shapes from the edges. Then they would flip the shape out and expand from there.

Both of these exercises came from the book called "Notan: The dark and light principles" (something like that). It was a book Nancy Crow had recommended to someone in our workshop and I took note and wrote it down and eventually ordered it.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Losing the battle...

... on more than one front. Yesterday my cold overtook me and I called in sick to work. Fortunately, it wasn't a urgent day to be there and not much would have gotten accomplished anyway. I took Anna to school and came back and went to bed. In the afternoon, I finished getting stuff ready for the art lesson and yearbook meeting. I was thinking "O.k. this is going to be the worst day of the cold and I will feel better tomorrow."

How wrong I was. I had a terrible night sleeping (even Nyquil didn't help and that stuff usually knocks me out). I woke up this morning feeling more horrible and wondering how am I ever going to get through an art lesson and a yearbook meeting as well. I drank a big glass of orange juice and a big mug of tea and took all kinds of medicine before we went to school. I was still feeling bad and had a rough voice, but thought I was a little better and might be able to make it through (plus I already had all the stuff ready to go. If I had to, I could get through the instructions and the teacher could take over).

I did make it through the art lesson and the kids artwork turned out well (maybe I'll take some pictures when I get them hung up). I got the stuff cleaned up and went to the Roosevelt market for some soup. Had a little time to rest at school before the yearbook meeting. By then though, all the medicines were starting to wear off.

I warned the kids I was already starting off with a low tolerance, but that went in one ear and out the other. Of course, most of them had not completed their assignments from last week (or previous ones for that matter). Even though I said I didn't want to hear excuses and gave them an extension, they were coming and going from the meeting to try to get their assignments or finish them. Hello, we're not working on them during the meeting.

It was really bad. I'm sure I came off as mean and cranky (I warned them). But what can I do when they don't do their assignments. I can't fail them. I can only threaten that I will do the fun part, that they have been waiting to do, instead of them. A couple of kids now want to quit because it is actually coming down to doing work instead of sitting around jabbering.

I have no voice left and at one point I just said, I quit. I'm done, leave. There will be no yearbook. That left them silent for a moment. Of course, anyone who knows me knows that is a completely empty threat. Because if I'm in charge of something it is going to get done and I'll do my best to get it done well (which is getting very hard with these students). Finally, I just said, "Any questions? o.k. leave."

Now I guess it is back to tea and orange juice and medicine and trying to forget about it for a while.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


I did manage to finish reading this book this weekend. I had seen it on some blogs and reviews in the media. I was able to get it from my library (through interlibrary loan).

It was an easy read with some humorous parts. It is about a couple from Vancouver who decide to only eat food that comes from a within 100 miles of them for an entire year. It makes you think about where food comes from as they didn't find anyone growing flour nearby for quite some time. No bread, pasta, pancakes, pies, baked goods, etc. Eventually they did find a farmer within a 100 miles from which to buy flour. Although this book is a microcosmic look of one couple's eating habits, it addresses our national system for food supply. Definitely, food for thought.

Cool Cats

Yes, more snow pictures. I can't resist. This past weekend we had some wet snow, just right for building snow cats. No, we don't build snowmen around here. We build snow cats.

Frank did the physical labor of getting the snow rolled up into the basic cat shapes.

Anna came to refine the form and add the details with her "sculpturing" stick.

I woke Sunday morning with a sore throat and am trying to fight off the cold. I wasn't up to playing in the snow but I did help Anna with the long cat tail on the left.

I was just thinking to myself last week how healthy I have been this winter so far. Only one short cold (and now two) and no sinus infection, which in the past few years I have gotten. I guess I cursed myself. My throat is still sore and I can tell I'm feeling drained, but it is a busy week (as well as next week) for me and must carry on.

I worked at the art museum yesterday and will today and tomorrow getting a show ready. Thursday, I have to do the school art lesson which always wipes me out even when I'm feeling well. Then after the lesson, I have to meet with the yearbook kids (they wipe me out with frustration). Next week is basically the same. Maybe Friday I will be able to rest (although there is laundry to do, house cleaning to do, bills to be paid and Frank left today for Florida and will be gone until Friday.)

If you need to see more snow-building pictures, Frank put some on our website in the photo gallery under family photos, 2008.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Time Flies

Here it is February already. Where did January go? These past couple of weeks have been busy. I worked two days at the museum this week and the rest of the time I spent working on the school yearbook. I'm the yearbook coordinator for Anna's school this year. Some sixth graders are my staff but there is not much they can do except make decisions, take pictures and verify names. Everything is done on the computer (which I have at home). Way back in the 1980's when I worked on my high school and college yearbooks, we did things the old-fashioned way, on paper!

However, I have managed to get something else accomplished. This is the piece I made for the Valentine's for Aids auction that is held every year by our local coffee shop, Flying M. I think this is their 15th year and it is my 10th year for donating a piece. This piece was inspired by the Twelve by Twelve group with their theme of chocolate (perfect for Valentine's day). Go to the link and see all their different interpretations of chocolate. My piece is 18" square and is called Chocolate and Roses. I will be dropping it off at the coffee shop this weekend.

Anna also made a piece to donate to the auction last year and did another this year. Last year she made a small Sculpey cat (about 3" tall) and it sold for $40. This year she decided to make a necklace. She made the Sculpey heart and beads and added assorted other beads.